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Medical ethics and law: a practical guide to the assessment of the core content of learning
  1. Val Wass
  1. Correspondence to Prof Val Wass, School of Medicine, Keele University, Keele ST5 5BG, UK; v.j.wass{at}

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‘What is important is to keep learning, to enjoy challenge, and to tolerate ambiguity. In the end there are no certain answers.’1

Martina Horner Radcliffe College, Cambridge Massachusetts

Assessing students’ learning on medical ethics to fully understand how they interpret, react and behave when faced with the uncertain, often ambiguous, challenges of real clinical encounters remains an educational conundrum. The authors of this guide are to be congratulated on their comprehensive summary of current practice. They provide an excellent platform from which to reflect and think forward. Are our assessment practices fit for purpose? Do they effectively relay the appropriate and necessary educational messages to our future doctors? I believe, although the range of assessment tools we have to date are welcome, there are pitfalls that remain unresolved.

A strong foundation knowledge of ethical principles and law is important. A robust moral framework is essential. The Guide confirms that we have the tools to assess students’ learning at the ‘knows how’ and ‘shows how’ level of Miller's pyramid.2 The context in which this knowledge is integrated …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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